April 14th, 1862
I take my pen in hand to write you again. I am well at present and all the boys from Hardin are well. I hope this letter finds you and the rest of the folks well. We are still at this place yet having been here ever since yesterday and I expect we will leave this place tomorrow for some place further south. We have not got arms yet except the old guns that I wrote about in my last letter and no prospect of getting any other kind. So I don’t think we will go to where the main army is. But we will be left to guard our bridges or something of the kind. There has been a tremendous fight near Corinth, about 100 miles from here, and the Secesh got badly whipped as usual. They lost 40 thousand men. And our side lost from 15 to 20 thousand. The rebels fought —– had to retreat and —– our main army. We are further from the seat of war now than when we were at Bardstown. I was appointed quartermaster sergeant last Saturday. My wages now are 21 dollars a month. I am exempt from all kinds of duty except weighing out the rations to the companies and a good deal of writing although I have a good deal of leisure time. And I have to go to town every day as our camp is about 3 miles from Nashville. Our Colonel was thrown out today and a man by the name of Smith appointed in his place and also one of our doctors was discharged for drunkenness. I think there will be a chance to get a furlough in two or three weeks. Do not go too far —– back. I would be very glad to see all of you and to stay with you if I could but I will have to be contented until I can come. I send you some more money in this letter. The whole sum of 10 cents. It is what they call southern scrip. This country is full of them of all sizes from 5 cts.. to $1.00. And they are both sides are fixing for a big fight at Corinth but we will not be there if they fight very soon. We did hear today that the rebels were leaving Corinth but we don’t know whether it is so or not. I am writing this by candle light in the quartermasters tent. And the bugle has sounded for us to blow out our light. So I must bring my letter to a close. You must not fail to write as often as you can and trust to Providence that we may meet again soon to part no more.
A. A. Harrison
P.S. Tell Lissy if she don’t write to me I sha’nt bring her a beau when I come home. Dear wife I could not write all I want to write in a week. If I could be with you I could find enough to talk about to last a month. But I will have to content myself to writing some of the most important things and leave the balance. I have got a very good office. It is nearly the same as keeping store. I can go where I please, stay as long as I please and sleep as long as I please. I do not have to drill or stand guard or go out on scouting expeditions. In fact I am in very little danger if the whole does not get killed or taken prisoner. We cannot hear of any rebel troops nearer this place than Corinth which is 110 miles from here. Just as currant (?) here as silver. This is a pretty country here and everything is earlier than in Ky. The trees are all green and now some of the leaves are nearly as large as my hand. The dogwood trees are out in full bloom and other things in proportion. The weather was very hot the day we got here. I thought it was hot enough for July but it has been cooler since until—– getting hot again. There is a lot of corn planted down here and some of it coming up. You must write as often as you can for I would like to hear from you every day if I could. So nothing more at present but remaining your affectionate husband until death.
A. A. Harrison
Absolom A. Harrison
Company D, 4th Regiment, Kentucky Calvary Volunteers (Union)
A. A. Harrison sent the following letters to his wife Susan Allstun Harrison. Susan’s grandmother was Nancy Lincoln Brumfield, Thomas Lincoln’s sister and President Abraham Lincoln’s aunt.
These letters were transcribed by A. A.’s great-grandson Ronald A. Harrison who introduces the letters with the following background:
“A. A. Harrison and his brother Jo (Joel) apparently got caught up in a recruiting drive and enlisted in the Fourth Kentucky Calvary, U.S.A., without even going home to tell their wives, Susan and Martha. The first letter appears to be letting Susan know what has become of her husband. The two brothers served honorably for roughly a year. At the end of that time A. A. was medically discharged. At roughly the same time Jo died in a military hospital in Nashville. Only recently has anyone in the family known Jo’s fate.”
Letters found on this web page January 2008.